For the first first more than half of Indians, 759 million citizens, are active internet users and access the internet at least once a month, a joint report by industry body IAMAI and market data analytics firm Kantar said on May 3.
According to the report, the active internet base in India is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025.
"759 million are 'active' internet users, accessing the internet at least once a month. By 2025 the number is expected to grow to 900 million. This is for the first time that the majority of Indians have become active internet users," the Internet in India Report 2022 said.
According to the report, out of 759 million 'active' internet users in India for 2022, 399 million are from rural India, while 360 million are from urban India, indicating that rural India continues to drive the growth of the internet in the country.
"Urban India, with approximately 71 per cent internet penetration witnessed only 6 per cent growth, with much of the overall gain in numbers coming from rural India which witnessed 14 per cent growth rate over the past one year. It is estimated that 56 per cent of all new internet users in India will be from rural India by 2025," the report said.
The report found that digital divide continues to plague the positive narrative with a huge disparity in internet penetrations across states, with Bihar with 32% users having less than half the level of internet penetration than the leading state Goa where 70% people are internet users.
"Even though the gender divide persists till date with 54 per cent male users, it is heartening to note that 57 per cent of all new users in 2022 were females. It is estimated that by 2025, 65 per cent of all new users will be women, which will help correct the gender divide," the report said.
The report suggests that digital penetration has improved not only in terms of spread but also in terms of depth.
"In terms of usage, digital entertainment, digital communications and social media continue to be the most popular services in India. In fact, Indians are fast adapting social media platforms as the next e-commerce destination, with a staggering 51 per cent year-over-year (YoY) growth in social commerce," the report said.
According to the report, digital payments have witnessed 13% growth over 2021 to reach an estimated 338 million users, of which 36% are from rural India.
"Nintynine per cent of all digital payment users are UPI users," the report said.